Landscape of the Soul | Nathalie Trouveroy | Class XI | English | Summary|

Landscape of the Soul | Nathalie Trouveroy | Class XI | English | Summary|

Summary

In this chapter ‘Landscape of the soul’ the writer counterpoints two forms of art – Chinese form of art and European form of art by using different stories. He begins this contrast with a Chinese story wherein a Tang emperor Xuanzong ordered a painter Wu Daozi to decorate one of the walls of his palace. Having painted the wall, the Emperor was called up to have a look at the magnificent painting. The emperor started observing the outer appearance of the painting but the painter drew his attention to a cave which was painted at the foot of the mountain. The painter told the Emperor that he would take him inside and let him feel but as soon as the painter entered the cave, the entrance closed behind him leaving the emperor alone. The painter, soon, clapped his hand and both the painting on the wall and the painter disappeared and never seen again. In his other story he tells the readers about a painter who doesn’t draw an eye of a dragon as he feared that the dragon would fly out of the painting if he did so.

On the other hand, in order to represent a European art form, he narrates a story of a Blacksmith who falls in love with a painter’s daughter but disapproved by her father due to his lowly profession. In order to impress her father, the blacksmith sneaks into his painting studio and paints a fly on the painter’s panel which look absolutely real. Having seen the fly on his panel,  the painter tries to hit it but soon finds it an illusion. The painter gets so impressed that he hires him work at his studio. Moreover, he gets both of them married with pomp and show. These stories highlight how is one form of art (European) different from that of other (Chinese). A European artist wants the viewer to see a real viewpoint by borrowing his eyes wherein the art must be perfect.  Whereas a Chinese artist doesn’t paint a real one but uses his inner soul to create a master piece. The artist wants the viewer to enter his mind and create a path of his own. Besides, the writer talks about Chinese philosophy ‘Shansui’ which means ‘Mountain Water’. The mountain represents ‘Yang’, the male principle whereas water signifies ‘Yin’, the female principle.

In the second part, the writer talks about the concept of Art Brut/Raw Art/Outsider Art wherein the artists without getting any formal training show artistic insight. He tells the readers about Nek Chand who, with his devotion and dedication, converted a patch of ordinary land into a beautiful garden called Rock Garden, located at Chandigarh. In the end, he praises Nek Chand for collecting all the waste material from a sink to a broken dwon car, recycling and making such a beautiful paradise on this earth. You may also read The Portrait of a Lady, We are not Afraid to Die if We Can All be Together, Discovering Tut, The Saga Continues, Landscape of the Soul, The Ailing Planet by Nani Palkhiwala, The Browning Version By Terence Rattigan, The Adventure by Jayant Narlikar, Silk Road by Nick Middleton, A Photograph, The Laburnum Top, The Voice of the Rain by Walt Whitman, Childhood by Markus Natten, Father to Son by Elizabeth Jennings

Important Questions/Answers 

Q1. What did the emperor order Wu Daozi to do? What happened when the former tried to enter the cave?

Ans. The emperor ordered Wu Daozi to make a beautiful painting on the wall. The painter wanted to take him through the cave located at the foothills of the mountain in the painting. But as soon as the emperor tried to enter, it got shut and the painting disappeared from the wall.

Q2. Why did the painter not draw the eye of a dragon according to a Chinese Story?

Ans. The painter was feared that if he drew the eye of a dragon, it would fly out of the painting and disappear. Therefore, he didn’t even try to do so. Such stories are common in Chinese literature as per the author.

Q3. Why did the painter not want his daughter to get married to a blacksmith? What made him change his decision?

Ans. Blacksmith had fallen in love with the painter’s daughter but their relationship was disapproved by her father due to blacksmith’s lowly profession. In order to impress her father, the blacksmith sneaked into his painting studio and painted a fly on the painter’s panel which looked absolutely real. Having seen the fly on his panel,  the painter tried to hit it but soon found it an illusion. The painter got so impressed that he hired him work at his studio and got both of them married.

Q4. How is Chinese form of art different from that of European form of art?

Ans. This chapter highlights how European form of art is different from that of Chinese form of art. According to the author, a European artist wants the viewer to see a real viewpoint by borrowing his eyes wherein the art must be perfect whereas a Chinese artist doesn’t paint a real one but uses his inner soul to create a master piece. The artist wants the viewer to enter his mind and create a path of his own.

Q5. Define ‘Shansui’. How does the writer elaborate it?

Ans. The writer talks about Chinese philosophy ‘Shansui’ which means ‘Mountain Water’. The mountain represents ‘Yang’, the male principle whereas water signifies ‘Yin’, the female principle. According to him, the middle void is generally avoided, which actually works as a communicator between both the poles.

Q6. What is Art Brut or Outsider Art according to the writer?

Ans. The writer talks about the concept of Art Brut/Raw Art/Outsider Art in this chapter. According to him one who shows artistic insight without getting any formal training from anywhere, is the master of outsider art.

Q7. How did Nek Chand convert a patch of land into a paradise according to the narrator?

Ans. The author tells the readers about Nek Chand who, with his devotion and dedication, converted a patch of ordinary land into a beautiful garden called Rock Garden, located at Chandigarh. He praised the legendary artist for collecting all the waste material from a sink to a broken down car, recycling and making such a beautiful paradise on this earth.

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